Five Strategies for Eating Healthy During the Holidays!

By Sahar Kasari, Dietetic Student

For many people, the holidays are a favorite time of year to relax and spend time socializing with friends and family. There is a temptation to indulge in the abundance of goodies– I’m looking at you, pecan pie. Let’s face it; there is tremendous anticipation, and fond memories that come with sitting down to the array of specialties awaiting us. With so many options, it’s easy to overindulge and consume an excess amount of calories, even for the most disciplined of people. Here are five recommendations for eating healthy during the holidays:
1.     Eat before you indulge.
We’ve all experienced the agonizing wait for food to be served at a dinner party. But before we attack the table like a pack of ravenous wolves, it’s a good idea to eat a light snack prior to the main course. Snacks containing fiber such as a piece of fruit or raw vegetables, or protein such as shrimp with lemon, will keep you feeling full, which will help prevent overeating.
2.     Be smart when you fill your plate.
With so many alluring dishes to choose from, it can be pretty tempting to fill up your plate with every option possible. To avoid consuming excess calories and fat, remember to keep half your plate full of vegetables or salad. Leave the other half for protein and a small amount of healthy grains. Don’t restrict yourself completely, making sure you taste the things you want the most, even if it is that loaded baked potato casserole. This way you will not feel cheated and still have made good choices.
3.     Eat slowly and savor every bite.
Consuming small bites allows you to enjoy your food while eating less. Taking smaller, slower bites and chewing more will satisfy your appetite without making you feel guilty. Remember it takes approximately 20 minutes for our stomach to signal our brains that we are full!
4.     Be mindful about your beverages. Reduce your consumption of calorie-laden drinks such as eggnog and avoid guzzling down soda. Instead, try drinking sparkling water between drinks or serving non-alcoholic beverages to reduce the caloric content.
5.     Indulge in your favorite dessert.
If you have a weakness for sugar like I do, you know the difficulty in choosing between the endless amounts of desserts. So many pies, so little time…Don’t feel obligated to try every dessert, but go ahead and indulge in your favorite dessert! You will feel much more satisfied than tasting something that’s not as appealing to you.